This entry addresses terminology, varieties of indigenous languages found around the world, issues of language loss and language revitalization, and variation in language socialization practices. Throughout, the Canadian context is used to exemplify issues.


Culturally acceptable terms should be used to refer to indigenous populations. What is acceptable varies by location, cultural and political context, and over time. Within any given group as well, members may not always agree on terms to be used. In Canada, Aboriginal has historically been the overarching term used to describe the first people who inhabited this land. More recently, indigenous is becoming the more preferred overarching term in Canada, a fact reflected in the recent name change of the federal department Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to Indigenous and ...

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